vORG map - 2
Packaging that reduces food waste
A lot of our food is thrown away. Helén Williams at Karlstad University wants to blow a hole in the myth that we're being eco-friendly just by reducing the amount of packaging we use. Our constant discarding of food - a really bad habit - is many more times more dangerous for the environment.
TEXT: KATARINA AVERÅS PHOTO: ØYVIND LUND
Helén Williams own field of research is environmental and energy systems, and in this specific project she and her colleague Fredrik Wikström are working together with other researchers at the Service Research Centre. CTF spans a variety of disciplines and is considered a world leader in its fields.
Packaging protects products and provides us with information on them.
"When we study the environmental impact of products, we often stop at the point at which the product is complete. So what we do with the product after that, and how we use it, isn't taken into consideration."
Examining packaging as a service makes it easier to gain an overall view; an important factor when it comes to developing more sustainable packaging.
"It's interesting to look at how we can minimise environmental impact throughout the entire system. What happens to the packaging? Is it recycled? Do we eat the food? Or do we throw it out?"
"The solution doesn't always involve using fewer packaging materials. Sometimes, what we need is better packaging. There's a breakpoint at which there's a risk of the packaging rupturing and no longer protecting its contents."
Wasting food is a lot worse for our environment than the climate impact involved in the use of packaging. On a global scale, as much as 30 to 50 per cent of all food produced never gets eaten.
"I want our agenda to include how we deal with food that's already been produced," says Helén Williams.